The partition ratio of cerium (Ce) and uranium (U) in the ingot, slag and dust phases has been investigated for the effect of the slag type, slag concentration and basicity in an electric arc melting process. An electric arc furnace (EAF) was used to melt the stainless steel wastes, simulated by uranium oxide and the real wastes from the uranium conversion plant in Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). The composition of the slag former used to capture the contaminants such as uranium, cerium, and cesium during the melt decontamination process generally consisted of silica (SiO2), calcium oxide (CaO) and aluminum oxide (Al2O3). Also, Calcium fluoride (CaF2), nickel oxide (NiO), and ferric oxide (Fe2O3) were added to provide an increase in the slag fluidity and oxidative potential. Cerium was used as a surrogate for the uranium because the thermochemical and physical properties of cerium are very similar to those of uranium. Cerium was removed from the ingot phase to slag phase by up to 99% in this study. The absorption ratio of cerium was increased with an increase of the amount of the slag former. And the maximum removal of cerium occurred when the basicity index of the slag former was 0.82. The natural uranium (UO2) was partitioned from the ingot phase to the slag phase by up to 95%. The absorption of the natural uranium was considerably dependent on the basicity index of the slag former and the composition of the slag former. The optimum condition for the removal of the uranium was about 1.5 for the basicity index and 15wt% of the slag former. According to the increase of the amount of slag former, the absorption of uranium oxide in the slag phase was linearly increased due to an increase of its capacity to capture uranium oxide within the slag phase. Through experiments with various slag formers, we verified that the slag formers containing calcium fluoride (CaF2) and a high amount of silica were more effective for a melt decontamination of stainless steel wastes contaminated with uranium. During the melting tests with stainless steel wastes from the uranium conversion plant (UCP) in KAERI, we found that the results of the uranium decontamination were very similar to those of the uranium oxide from the melting of stimulated metal wastes.

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